New Poems--Happy and Not So
I said I'd be a writer
till the hour that I die, but drat,
I'm done, no more rejections--
Maybe there's a poem in that.
Tourists on a soaring, historic bridge.
One tick of time,
Where life had been,
arms, legs, fierce activity—
Nothing but the youngling's siren voice
The nine/eleven leapers knew
pursued by fire
the awful choice
with time to curse
Our nightmares are of steeps, pits,
faulty parachutes. Most likely
are the treacheries of smaller drops—
ladders, stairs, and slippery slopes.
We fall upon hard times, into depression, for lies, in love.
All of us are falling.
Though distances may vary.
Modern girls don't know
that they're deprived.
Walking into Woolworth's Five and Dime
which always smelled of floor wax and hot nuts.
Choosing just one book from all the possibilities.
Paying with a dime.
Carrying the bounty home.
Selecting the doll to punch out first.
Cutting out the clothes—careful, careful
around the tabs.
The wardrobes piling up.
Wanting to share my joy,
I mailed one paper doll—
Sally in a yellow swimsuit—
to my daddy, a medic
in the Philippines
in the second World War.
Despite the censors,
she made it through,
and made it home again as well,
and stronger than before,
for he'd applied white, cloth tape
to her plain side.
I picture him in a dim tent,
trimming the excess with surgical scissors,
his buddies giving him a hard time
as he cut out a paper doll.
He returned her to me with a note:
She missed you.
The Wretched Rotten Ruthless Figment
At night a hulking shadow squats
outside my bedroom door.
He stares in through the keyhole
and sneers to hear me snore.
He shakes the knob and whistles
between his rotting teeth.
He plays a game of peek-a-boo
with gleamy knife and sheath.
When sun slides through the window,
off the bulky bully sneaks.
Then the rattling and the whistling's
just a breeze-moved door that squeaks.